If you have seen a sudden and drastic drop in either your website’s traffic or your site’s sales numbers, chances are you have experienced a penalty given out by Google. These penalties are meant to keep only relevant, useful and important websites ranking well in Google, creating better search results for Google users. However, penalties handed out to a website can severely hinder a business’ ability to conduct business in an effective way, necessitating the removal of these penalties as quickly as possible. To give you a better handle of the potential penalties you could incur and how to avoid them, here’s some general information regarding Google penalties.
A website can get an algorithmic penalty when Google updates its algorithm to include new rules for how a website should be marketing itself. These penalties can be brought about in the Panda updates, Penguin updates, Pigeon updates and more. Moz.com provides a complete list of what updates have taken place and what the results of those updates have been, the most recent being called “Mobilegeddon” as a nickname. Marie Haynes, contributor to Moz, describes the Penguin update including bad links and content over optimization and the Panda update relating to quality content. Since these penalties will take place as a result of an update, you will have to wait for a new update to see any progress after you make efforts to fix these penalties.
Manual penalties are placed on your site by a Google Webmaster if they find something that is particularly spammy on your site. Google states that they take this action to “protect the quality of our index.” When you are given a manual penalty, you will receive a notice in your Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard. Once you have addresses the problem to the standards that Google has set out, you can request for Google to look over your site again and remove the penalty if adequate changes have been made. These types of penalties can either apply to your whole site in general or to specific pages throughout your site.
Overcoming the Penalties
Depending on the type of penalty you incur, your actions will vary. Like was mentioned previously, if you get an algorithmic penalty, you’ll essentially just have to make the changes and wait it out for the next update. Manual penalties can generally be taken care of on your own timetable and are easier to know have taken place.
The best way to keep your website functioning properly is to take all necessary precautions to avoid getting a Google penalty in the first place. Supple Solutions reminds us that SEO standards are always evolving, making it real work to stay on top of white hat practice. But if you’re determined to give your visitors quality content in an honest way, you’re on the right path for staying away from Google penalties, both manual and algorithmic